Caddo Magnet is proud to announce that two seniors, Elijah Burks and Ashini Modi, have been recognized as Regeneron STS Scholars by the Society for Science! The two are among 300 top scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. The Regeneron Science Talent Search provides students a national stage on which to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges. The 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000 each. The Regeneron Science Talent Search scholars were selected from 1,805 applications received from 603 high schools across 46 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and 8 other countries. Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists and hail from 185 American and international high schools and homeschools in 37 states, China, Switzerland and Singapore.
Burks’s research is titled “The Effect of Freshwater Acidification on Clams.” The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing due to the increased use of fossil fuels stemming from the industrial revolution 200 years ago. A multitude of research has been done on how increasing CO₂ affects saltwater organisms, but not on freshwater. This is mainly because freshwater only encompasses 3% of the water on Earth, with the rest being salt water. The main goal of his project was to determine how increasing CO₂ affects freshwater clams. Using varying amounts of CO₂, he exposed the clams to different pH ranges and measured their respiration and mass. This research showed that increasing CO₂ had a negative effect on freshwater clams. The mass of the clams in the acidic environment decreased, and their respiration increased, which is a sign of stress. With increasing carbon dioxide having a different effect on various organisms and the amount of CO₂ rising in the atmosphere, this research is very relevant. He hopes his project will inspire scientists to conduct more research on freshwater organisms and see how climate change will impact them.
Modi’s research is titled “An Evolutionary Model for Stellar Wind-Induced Atmospheric Escape of Small Exoplanets.” Her project created a model for the affect that high-speed ions from stars can have on the atmospheres of planets. She found that two of the planets in her study were predicted to completely lose a Hydrogen-Helium atmosphere due to interactions with these ions. However, current observations show the existence of an atmosphere on these two planets, meaning that the atmosphere we are seeing today could be secondary, or re-established. She hopes her model will aid in the search for life beyond Earth and shed some light on the evolution of Earth-like planets.